Today is Android Q day, and behind the scenes we're frantically flashing this new beta to see what's new, but plenty of new details have been revealed officially. Among the most important is the timeline for beta releases going forward. Six beta releases are planned in total, with the final release due in Q3.

Google has also added details to its enumerated list of releases, indicating what sort of features might make it into each:

  • Beta 1 (initial release, beta)
  • Beta 2 (incremental update, beta)
  • Beta 3 (incremental update, beta)
  • Beta 4 (final APIs and official SDK, Play publishing, beta)
  • Beta 5 (release candidate for testing)
  • Beta 6 (release candidate for final testing)
  • Final release to AOSP and ecosystem

As you should probably have guessed, today's release is Beta 1. This initial release doesn't have quite as many features as we saw in the previously leaked images, so we assume most of the changes present today are under the hood (API level sort of things) and meant to help developers familiarize themselves with Android Q at a software level. I.e., if you were hoping to opt in and get all the final features like a system-wide dark mode today, you are out of luck.

Based on the calendar provided by Google (which, historically, hasn't always been precisely accurate), we have one more beta release expected at the beginning of next month, and another set for around the time of Google's I/O developer conference.

During this early period, Google is soliciting feedback from developers as they test and migrate their apps on the new release, so if given APIs need to be tweaked, or old deprecated APIs brought back due to unanticipated consequences, there will still be time to make the required changes. Developers are encouraged to take a look for themselves, so hopefully they have a Pixel on hand.

Starting with Beta 4, developers will have a finalized set of APIs for Android Q, and the Play Store will support distribution to the Android Q API target level (29) for alpha/beta app releases as well.

Beta 5 and 6 will be release candidates, as Google irons out most of the remaining bugs before the anticipated Q3 release. If you aren't willing to deal with a potentially buggy release, but you want in on the Android Q action early, I'd urge you to wait until then to flash your phone.

In addition to hearing about beta releases via us here at Android Police, developers can keep track at the Android Developers Blog.